Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida assistance programs.

Almost 20 counties are supported by Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida. The non-profit and its partners provide free food, referrals, and support to the working poor and low income. Another focus is on the high number of seniors in the area as well as the immigrant population.

A food bank known as Second Harvest North Florida oversees numerous programs. The main mission of Lutheran Services Second Harvest is to distribute free grocery and food products to hungry people and children. Staff will also work to educate the general public about the causes and even possible solutions to problems of domestic hunger.

Lutheran Services establishes relationships with large suppliers like ConAgra and retail partners like Target, Wal-Mart, Bjs, Winn-Dixie, and Publix. The food bank is able to “rescue” an enormous volume of food, provide it to the needy and stretch each dollar incredibly far. The program works with nonprofit agencies and pantries in the counties of Baker, Alachua, Bradford, Clay, Union, Columbia, Dixie, St. Johns, Hamilton, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Lafayette, Levy, Putnam, Suwannee and Nassau.

The Representative Payee Services helps seniors and disabled clients. The program will offer them prudent financial counseling and management from qualified coordinators. This particular program is the only one of its kind in Duval County or Northeast Florida that manages Social Security checks for people not capable of budgeting or spending their money appropriately. Other benefits handled include widow annuities, Veterans Administration, private pensions, and railroad retirement. The main clients include homeless, the mentally ill, persons diagnosed as HIV positive, the elderly residing in homes or assisted living facilities. All served from Lutheran Services are considered low-income according to the Federal Government Poverty Guidelines.

Studies show that clients of the Representative Payee program are easily manipulated by others or are susceptible to making bad spending decisions. Sometimes this means they purchase tobacco, alcohol or non-essential items without regard to paying the rent, food, and other basic needs. Or maybe they use a payday loan instead for their monthly bills.

The program also partners with groups and resources such as Elder Source to provide a senior asset protection plan. This will put senior and elderly clients on a budget, gives them appropriate spending money, and pays their expenses. Hundreds are helped per year. Call 904.730.8282.




The Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida Refugee and Immigration Services program is run in partnership with Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) as well as Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS). Dozens of nationalities can be served. Immigrants can learn about and get help with government requirements, learn about American culture, and access banking and employment processes. The main goal is to promote effective resettlement as well as long-term economic self-sufficiency. Additional components of it include:

  • Youth and Family Services will assist children and families achieve integration into the Jacksonville community and Duval County Public Schools and also family stability. Counselors offer individual and group counseling, academic assistance, and career planning.
  • Employment assistance is for refugees in securing economic self sufficiency. Lutheran Services offers resume writing, short term training, and job placement services. A program known as Career Laddering assists refugees who have professional experience in their previous life to develop career track goals.
  • Resettlement services in the area, including Jacksonville, is for refugees.
  • Integration Assistance and Referrals are offered on a walk in basis. The program will also offer intensive case management assistance to refugees and immigrants who face significant cultural and social barriers to self sufficiency.




People and families who are HIV-positive or living with AIDS in Duval and northeastern Florida can turn to the AIDS Care and Education (ACE) Program. It will work to improve the quality of life and health for those who are impacted.

Case managers from Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida help to secure services and health care for clients which may include emergency food and clothing, medical and dental assistance, food stamps, rent assistance, mental health services, free legal assistance, support groups, furnishings, educational materials, job placement, GED and continued education and vocational rehabilitation.

The non-profit also works with the Ryan White and Medicaid Waiver Case Management, Shared Housing Program, Ryan White Mental Health Program, and HOPWA. Some of the typical clients include women with children, people living in rural areas, single women, men, racial/ethnic minorities and communities of color, the homeless, gay, lesbian and bisexual adults, and people in need of mental health counseling, injection drug users.

The primary Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida is located at 4615 Philips Highway, Jacksonville, Florida 32207. Call the non-profit at 904.448.5995.




By Jon McNamara

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